ThaiQR users can now scan 1.5M merchants in Cambodia

As the number of merchants where KHQR can be scanned in Thailand has soared to 7.6 million; in Cambodia the ThaiQR can now be scanned at 1.5 million merchants, a release by National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) said.

The numbers were revealed during the launch of the second phase of the cross-border QR payment system between the two countries in Phnom Penh to promote the national currency settlement and contribute significantly to boosting financial inclusion, according to a reliable source on Tuesday. It also aims to facilitate cross-border trade and increasing the number of tourists.

The source said that the launch of the second phase was attended by NBC Governor Chea Chanto, Deputy Governor Chea Serey and Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, Governor of Bank of Thailand (BOT).

Speaking to Khmer Times yesterday, a technical official at NBC explained the key differences between the second and first phases of bilateral collaboration on cross-border payment between the two countries, saying that the second one has allowed ThaiQR users to scan at 1.5 million merchants in Cambodia from Tuesday this week.

“Till yesterday, ThaiQR users were not able to make payment through scanning in our country, but KHQR users scanned in Thailand. However, since the launch of the second phase ThaiQR users are able to scan in our country,” the official said.

Serey posted on her official Facebook account on Tuesday that the bilateral meeting between Cambodia’s central bank NBC and BOT—Thailand’s central bank was concluded with sharing lessons learnt in many areas in central banking along with the launch of the second phase of QR payment between the two countries.

Serey said the meeting was aimed at strengthening solidarity, friendship, economic ties and promoting macroeconomic growth, banking and financial technology in both countries.

Last month, Serey gave a demonstration of using the mobile app of Acleda Bank Plc to make cross-border payments to a vendor in Thailand through a video.  “Don’t want to carry cash? No problem. Here paying for my boat noodles with a QR code in Thailand from my account with a bank in Cambodia,” she wrote on her Facebook.

The number of payments in digital platform in Cambodia’s banking system have soared 34 percent to $272.8 billion with one billion transactions in 2022 compared to the previous year, which equals over nine times the country’s GDP.

Chanto said in NBC’s Banking Supervision Report 2022 report that the central bank has developed and enhanced the modernisation of the country’s payment system infrastructure with the KHQR code to promote QR payment along with the expedition of the development of safer, more efficient, lower-cost and more inclusive cross-border payment with other countries in the region.

“Payments have been made digitally through products and services provided by banking and financial institutions, especially mobile applications or agents and other payment networks. Using financial technology in making payments have contributed to enhancing financial inclusion, promoting competition, increasing creativity and raising trust,” read the report.

Digital payments have been made via services provided by 35 payment institutions and two banking and financial institutions with licenses and permits respectively from the monetary authority and central bank, while the number of payment transactions has risen from 708 in the previous year.

The report stated that the number of banking and financial service consumers who have registered to create e-wallet accounts has increased to 19.5 million as of 2022, which included accounts that have transacted digital payments, while banking and financial institutions issued 12.3 million payment cards for internet and mobile banking.